As special state police officers, Harvard University police have the power to make arrests and execute search warrants on campus. The student-run Harvard Crimson newspaper says that means that campus police should also be subject to the same disclosure rules as municipal police departments.
The state's highest court heard arguments yesterday in the Crimson's lawsuit against Harvard, which seeks to force campus police to turn over arrest records.
Harvard says it is not subject to the state's public records laws because it is a private university and its police department is not a public entity.
''A campus police officer in a community like Harvard is very different than a municipal or State Police officer," Harvard's lawyer, Jeffrey Swope, told the Supreme Judicial Court.
The lawyer for the Crimson, Frances Cohen, said the paper has access to daily crime logs, which contain bare descriptions of police activity. But the newspaper believes it should have access to detailed police reports, Cohen said.
The justices did not indicate when they would issue a ruling.